[b-hebrew] Samson at Gaza - Judges 16:1

George Athas george.athas at moore.edu.au
Thu Aug 16 06:55:34 EDT 2007

One of the beauties of Hebrew narrative is its economy of expression which
often implies everything without saying very much at all (cf. Ruth on the
threshing floor uncovering Boaz' 'footsies').
Furthermore, a good question to ask when interrogating a text is why does it
use such brevity? In most cases, I think the answer is modesty.
In the case of Samson, when he shows up at a whore's place and spends the
night there, if the text does not specifically say that he did not sleep
with her, I think it's fairly safe to assume that the text is implying he
did. That he got up early in the morning proves nothing.
Also, Samson needing a safe place to stay the night is quite ironic, because
he was more than capable of taking care of any stalkers. He didn't 'need' a
place to stay -- he 'wanted' a place to stay.
The text doesn't pass any overt moral judgement on Samson's actions. This
doesn't mean, however, that an ancient reader would have thought what he did
was acceptable. The text is merely silent. So, we shouldn't try to argue
from silence -- that's probably going to be speculation.

Best Regards, 

Moore Theological College (Sydney) 
1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia 
Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774 


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